1,000 miles apart and sharing in the pain

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well, the first ‘week’ of classes is over. I say ‘week’ because the semester officially started on Wednesday and most students do not have classes on Friday. Yeah, I know. I definitely noticed more bodies in the library and more questions at the desk when I worked my two shifts but nothing as chaotic as opening day at Purdue. I imagine next week I will really see the difference as the first two weeks at Wellesley are spent dropping, adding, and then re-adding the previously dropped classes. Apparently no one has a fixed schedule the first two weeks. Students go to the classes they think they might want to be in, see if they like it, if so, ask the professor to add it. Some students switch courses the entire two weeks before they settle in. And it’s not a big deal, at all. Professors are more than happy to accommodate the students’ requests. Just another example of a difference in culture I have to get used to. And let me just say that for the most part, 96% of the students wanted classes to start. They were actually waiting for it, looking forward to it. This is serious.

And then there are the student projects. I am teaching four instructional sessions. I have a list of previous student research topics from my colleagues who have done the instructional sessions in the past. All I can say is “OMG.” Seriously. Ideally we like to give the instructional session after the professor has assigned the research project. That way the session is beneficial and meaningful as students can then search on their own topics during the hands-on portion of the session. It’s always nice when the instructor emails the topic list before we teach so that we can help students individually if they need it. So here is an example of a topic from last semester. Keep in mind that this is a 200 level class meaning most of the students are freshmen and sophomores. “For my research presentation I will be discussing the correlation and effects of poverty, pollution, and health issues. Based on some articles I have found, it is my belief that those who fall under the category of the lower class are more likely to live in communities that are affected by pollution from large corporations….”  Wow. Just wow. I’m constantly impressed with the level at which the students operate. Again, entirely different culture.

In other news, I love Google+.  It has proven to be the perfect way for Matt and I to connect. Recently we started our strength training program again. Before when I was in Indiana, we would do the program three days a week but since the holidays, we stopped working out because our lives became overwhelmed with packing, holiday-related events, and moving. Yeah, the moving. So needless to say, we got out of shape again. Last Sunday we finally decided to get off our dead lazy asses and get back to work. We set up our Google hangout and started working out. Now mind you, we aren’t really talking to each other much. But it is nice to see each other and know that the other person is there, in torture, right along with you. Every once in awhile one of us will yell out, “You alive?” or “You okay??” and then wait for the “yeah, how are you?”  So far, it’s been good. Not great because great would be us being together but that’s not possible. We managed to work out the full three days this week!  I’m so proud of us and if we can keep this up, we will both be able to benchpress a cow or at the very least a very large cat.

Working out hasn’t been all smiles and sexy arm flexes. No, it was damn near life crippling. I pushed and pushed hard and paid dearly for it. For two full days I moved around like Boris Karloff pining away for his tomb. It was not pretty nor was it nice. No one at work said anything at my shuffling about and I wonder if they just didn’t know what to say. Surely they noticed me wincing every time I had to literally help myself down into a chair. But since they don’t know me that well perhaps they feared I might have some sort of serious problem I might not want attention drawn to. Either way, I am happy to report that Matt was in pain too so at 1,000 miles apart, we were both feeling the hurt. It’s good to share.

Google+ has also proven to be an invaluable asset for Sunday morning coffee. Back in the day, Matt and I would spend Sunday mornings chillin’ on the couch with the kittehs drinking coffee and philosophizing. For the past two weeks, it has been really depressing as I have had my coffee alone with Izzy. No philosophy, no laughs, no true happiness. But last Sunday Matt suggested we try the Google hangout and it was awesome. It was like we were in the same room, face-to-face sharing a cup of joe. Not perfect but a lot less lonely and for now, that’s all we can ask for. That’s the lemonade.

Tomorrow marks one month that I have been out of Indiana. Last month I arrived here on December 28th. It feels a lot longer than that. A lot longer and it’s mainly because being out here is isolating in so many ways. Grocery shopping…alone. Walking home…alone. Library visits for books to occupy my mind….alone. Shopping for yoga pants…alone. It is like being trapped inside of yourself nonstop. I equate this to the time I lived abroad in Italy only there is no language barrier. Like being an alien. It’s just something I have to work through. And it’s comforting to know that Matt is going through the same exact thing, trying to find his way as well. Trial and error or something like that.

Curmudgeon Bob, you ask? Well, he complained twice last Sunday because my very tiny, small fan was deafening.  I told him that I use it to blow the hot air around from the radiator so that my apartment stayed above freezing. I said I was not turning it off. Later on he came back to give me a magazine to put under the fan, to keep it from “rattling.” I did one better, I put a towel under it to just to shut him the hell up. But I will say that there is no reason for him to complain about a harmless fan when he takes to playing the piano at midnight. Yes, that’s right folks, Bob is the pianist and he likes to play well after dark.  Yesterday he came upstairs and yelled at my neighbor because her boots were too loud. I’m not kidding. I think he is insane. And then around 11:30 last night, the sweet sound of Jesus notes wafted from his apartment, black and white keys a banging out tunes of glory on high. I turned my fan on, put my earplugs in and went to bed. I could complain, hell yes almighty, I could. But I like to save my aces and pull them out when the hand is right. I mean, you got to know when to hold them. And I’ve already counted my money.

So that’s the skinny. Still working, still eating, still sleeping, and reading more books for fun than I have in years. One could say I have a lot of time on my hands but honestly, I am just trying to have a life outside of work. And reading books for fun is one way I know to do that. At least at the end of the day there are thoughts in my head that have nothing to do with library articles, sociology, anthropology, spanish, or call numbers. Just pure murder, mayhem, and darkness. Sweet perfection.

So until next time, don’t forget to drink your ovaltine. (Especially if it is spiked.)

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Comments
  1. Barbie says:

    HE is the piano player? You have got to be kidding me! What a wack-a-doo!

  2. Barb Stahura says:

    “benchpress a cow” – you’ll be set for cow tipping!!! and yes, it sounds like Curmudgeon Bob is the resident wacko.

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